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The Cotswolds is an area rich in history, and this allows the museums and galleries to show many of the artefacts that have been discovered throughout the region. Many of the small local heritage centres show the cultural aspects of their towns, their villages and their people. Take time out to visit one of them, some are free but the majority charge an entrance fee, which could be reduced for residents.

Athelstan Museum

Town Hall, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury, SN16 9BZ, +44 (0)1666 829258

Athelstan museum situated in the centre of Malmesbury. The museum displays include lace-making, costume, rural life, local history and old paintings and pictures of the town. For opening times please telephone prior to visit. Admission is free.

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American Museum

Claverton Manor, Bath, Somerset, BA2 7BD, +44 (0)1225 460503

The American Museum in Britain has the finest collection of American arts outside of the USA. The museum tells the story of the American way of life from colonial times to the Civil War. Visits may coincide with other events associated with American life.

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The Jane Austen Centre

40 Gay Street, Queen Square, Bath, Somerset, +44 (0)1225 443000

Jane Austin, the famous novelist spent five years in Bath and this time spent here is reflected in the novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The centre has been created with the help of the Jane Austen Society. Open all year. Admiision is charged.

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Banbury Museum

Spiceball Park Road, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX16 2PQ, +44 (0)1295 259855.

This is a museum where visitors can interact with hands on displays and audio-visual screens that tell the story of the Oxfordshire Canal and the Tooleys boatyard. Visitors can also discover more on the history of Banbury town famous for the nursery rhyme, Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross and Banbury cakes.

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Bath Postal Museum

8, Broad Street, Bath, Somerset, +44 (0)1225 460333

Discover the history of post from ancient times to the present.

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Bradford on Avon Museum

Bridge Street, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. BA15 1BY, +44 (0)1225 863280

The museum displays aspects of the heritage of the town and villages of the former Bradford Hundred. The exhibition includes a complete pharmacy shop which once stood in the town and was removed and rebuilt at the museum. Opening times. All year.(limited times). Admission is free.

Bristol Aero Collection

Kemble Airfield, Gloucestershire. GL7 6BA, +44 (0)117 9080908

The hangar display at Kemble is currently closed due to the collection being relocated. It is not known when the Collection will be able to re-open, as a substantial amount of work is required to allow access to the public.

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Charlbury Museum

Charlbury Oxfordshire OX7 3PN, +44 (0)1608 810060

Charlbury Museum shows visitors the traditional crafts and industries of the Oxfordshire town of Charlbury and includes exhibits given or lent by the residents of Charlbury and the villages surrounding the local area.

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Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum

Clarence Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 3JT, +44 (0)1242 237431

Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum collection includes fine art, ceramics, jewellery, furniture, local history and changing exhibitions so there is always something new to see.

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Chipping Norton Museum

High Street, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 5AD, +44 (0)1608 641712

The Museum is housed in the former Chipping Norton Co-operative Society Hall. Exhibits are mainly hands-on and illustrate the town's development from Saxon times to World War II.

Cogges Manor Farm Museum

Church Lane, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX28 3LA, +44 (0)1993 772602

Cogges Manor Farm Museum is a working museum set in an historic manor farmhouse with buildings of Cotswold stone depicting Oxfordshire rural life in Victorian times.

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Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection

The Old Mill, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, GL54 2BY, +44 (0)1451 821255

The Cotswold Motoring Museum can be found in the Cotswold town of Bourton-on-the-Water, here visitors will enjoy a fascinating journey through 20th Century motoring history.

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Cricklade Museum

Calcutt Street, Cricklade, Wiltshire, SN6 6BD, +44 (0)1793 750686

Despite its small size the Cricklade Museum houses more than 8,000 items. The museum is run by the Cricklade Historical Society.

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Holburne Museum of Art

Great Pulteney Street, Bath, Somerset, BA2 4DB, +44 (0)1225 466669

The Holburne located in the eighteenth-century Sydney Hotel houses a collection of paintings, silver, sculpture, furniture and porcelain, with works by Gainsborough, Guardi, Stubbs and Turner.

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Hook Norton Visitor Centre And Brewery Museum

Hook Norton, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX15 5NY, +44 (0)1608 730294

The brewer’s craft has many secrets and some of these are on view at the Hook Norton Visitors’ Centre and brewery museum. The Visitors Centre is housed in the original maltings that were bought by John Harris in 1849.

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William Herschel Museum

19 New King Street, Bath, Somerset, BA1 2BL, +44 (0)1225 446865

William Herschel was a distinguished astronomer who discovered the planet Uranus in 1781, using a telescope of his own design. The William Herschel Museum is dedicated to the many achievements of William Herschel.

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The Edward Jenner Museum

Church Lane, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, GL13 9BH, +44 (0)1453 811690

The Jenner Museum is situated at The Chantry, the house that Edward Jenner owned from 1785. The museum in Berkeley was opened to the public in 1985.

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Museum in the Park

Mansion House, Stratford Park, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 4AF, +44 (0)1453 763394

You will find this Museum located in the old Mansion House in the beautiful grounds of Stratford Park near Stroud. There are over 5,000 objects on displayed at the Museum ranging from dinosaur and mammoth remains to Roman altars, landscape paintings and two of the world's first lawnmowers.

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Museum of Costume and Assembly Rooms

Bennett Street, Bath, Somerset, BA1 2QH, +44 (0)1225 477173

Museum of Costume has one of the worlds best collections of costumes and accessories. The collection contains costumes dating from the the Elizabethan fashionwear of the 16th century to modern day clothes designed by the likes of Paul Smith and Alexander McQueen.

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The National Waterways Museum

Llanthony Warehouse, Gloucester Docks, Gloucester GL1 2EH, +44 (0)1452 318200

Housed in a splendid Victorian warehouse the museum covers 200 years of our inland waterways and uses touch- screen computers to bring history to life. There is also a working blacksmith's shop and boat trips are available. Open all year. Admission is charged.

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Oxfordshire Museum

Fletchers House, Park Street, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1SN, +44 (0)1285 760490

The museum housed in the former Fletcher's House is an ideal introduction to the history of Oxfordshire. The museum is designed around the rooms of the house and consists of 10 galleries each with a theme. Access for the disabled is available with stair lifts to the upper floors. There is a no smoking policy, coffee shop and picnic area in the gardens. This is an enjoyable, well presented day out in the small town of Woodstock. Admission is currently free.

Oxford Bus Museum

Station Yard, Long Hanborough, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX29 8LA, +44 (0)1993 883617

The Oxford Bus Museum exhibition at Long Hanborough, near Witney Oxfordshire, has a display of over 40 public transport bus vehicles which have been used around the Oxford and the Oxfordshire Cotswolds over the past 100 years.

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Tetbury Police Museum

The Old Court House, 63 Long Street, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8AA, +44 (0)1666 504670

The museum is located in the original Police office and cells, which now contain an interesting exhibition of items from the history of Gloucestershire Constabulary including a selection of uniforms, photo's, documents and equipment. The Chief Constable of Gloucestershire opened the museum in 1981 coincidentally the year in which Tetbury celebrated 1300 years of recorded history. The museum is open all year, Monday - Friday, 10.00 - 15.00 and closed Bank Holidays. Admission is free although donations are welcome.

Tolsey Museum

126 High Street, Burford, Oxfordshire, OX18 4QU, +44 (0)1993 822178

The Tolsey Museum where in Tudor times local traders would come to pay their tolls is now home to a collection illustrating Burford's social and industrial past. Exhibits include the town maces, seals and charters and many items covering the industrial heritage of the Oxfordshire town. The Museum is open April - October daily 2pm - 5pm . Admission is free although donations are welcome.

Wellington Aviation Museum

Broadway Road, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 0BG, +44 (0)1608 650323

The Wellington Aviation and Art Museum is a haven for enthusiasts of World War II memorabilia including paintings, prints, models and aircraft history, with the proceeds going to the RAF Benevolent Fund. The museum records the history of RAF Moreton-in-Marsh; a flight training station for RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War and over recent years has become the Gloucestershire Fire Brigades training headquarters. The Museum opening times are Tuesday to Sunday 10.00am -12.30pm and 2.00pm - 5.00pm. Closed Christmas Day. Admission is charged.

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Winchcombe Folk and Police Museum

High Street, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, GL54 5LJ, +44 (0)1242 609151

Winchcombe Folk and Police Museum is run entirely by volunteers, who look after a collection of exhibits which deals with the history of Winchcombe and a unique police collection including British and International uniforms and equipment. Admission is charged and opening times are from April to October.

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Winchcombe Railway Museum and Gardens

23 Gloucester Street, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, GL54 5LX, +44 (0)1242 620641

See a history of railway life with all types of memorabilia, which show railway life during the days of steam. Signals and working models that visitors are able to operate. The museum is set in 1.5 acres of gardens full of rare plants, a Victorian vegetable garden and a medicinal herb garden. Admission is charged and opening times are from Easter to October.

Witney and District Museum

Gloucester Court Mews, High Street, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX28 6JF, +44 (0)1993 775915

Witney and District Museum was opened during 1996. The museum can be found in a Cotswold stone building in the centre of the town, once the home of a local businessman, Malachi Bartlett, a proprietor of a local building firm who constructed many of the buildings at Witney Railway Station. Admission is charged and opening times are from April to October.

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